How to Cancel Council Tax When Moving House in the UK

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Last Update: 20.05.2021

As if house moving is not stressful enough, you have to deal with council tax too! Your to-do list is long enough, and further tasks keep showing up. This should be your top priority. Informing your local authorities about the move will save you money in the long run.

The reality is that if you are an adult who isn't covered by tax relief, you have to pay your council a tax. And with relocating your home,  you will also have to inform your council.

Luckily, it's not as difficult as it sounds. You have to do it a few weeks before your actual move to prevent issues that might cost you a lot. And as a removal company, we can give you some guiding tips on cancelling council tax when house moving.

What is Council Tax?

Council Tax is a tax that your local government of England charges, Wales, and Scotland, and it’s paid by everyone who lives in the area. It was introduced in 1993 as a replacement for the unpopular Poll Tax and is based on the market value of your home.

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How is Council Tax Calculated?

It's calculated from the value of your property using a series of council tax bands. The higher the band, the more expensive the property is for local government authorities to provide services. There are eight valuation council tax bands in England and Scotland, ranging from “A” (the highest) to “H”, and nine bands in Wales, ranging from “A” (the highest) to “I”.

Council Tax Bands

The council tax band in England is based on the property value relative to 1991 prices. Even new properties are banded through a time-tested method that calculates the value of the properties in 1991 prices. 

The council tax band in Wales is calculated using the 2003 property values after the National Assembly reorganized the band system in 2005. At this time, the Welsh Government also added an extra “I Band” to ensure that the council tax band would keep pace with the cost of living.

Like England, all of Scotland's council tax bands are based on the 1991 value of houses.

How to Cancel Your Council Tax When Moving House?

If you decide to move to a new home, you must notify the local authority to register for council tax at your new address. 

A few problems can occur if you don't deal with this issue on time. However, nothing is irreversible. It is important to know where and when you are relocating to inform the council on time. 

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How to cancel council tax:

  • Start ahead of time to avoid the mayhem of administrative work and long queues. Go to your local authorities and report your starting and ending points of moving house.
  • Depending on the waiting list, it can take up to several weeks to process your application. That is why it is important to do this at least a month before you move out of your home. That way, you are not obligated to pay council tax for a house you no longer live in.
  • The process might be easier if you are still in the same administrative area. But if you are relocating to another district, you will have to call their local authorities and have a new account created and your old one cancelled.
  • It is very important to remember to contact the two local councils and inform them about the move. Otherwise, you risk having to pay two council taxes.
  • When the moving-out day approaches, you will receive the last bill for your old home.

How to Change Council Tax When You Move?

Full-time university students do not pay council tax, people on benefits, or under special circumstances. Certain types of properties are exempt from the tax. Visit your local council’s website for more info. If this is your first time paying, you can do so at your local authorities.

  • Visit the council of the area you are moving house to, and they will set up your account.
  • After you've moved, you'll receive the new bill and info on when and how to pay it.
  • * If the band of your property is unclear or there isn't enough information, they may appoint a band assessment from the Valuation Office Agency. They will evaluate your new home and determine how much your new council tax will be.

You will need to specify if you will make any changes to your old property (if you own it) or your new property.

The assessment of your property is based on the following:

  • location
  • character
  • layout
  • size
  • change in use

Changes of address and postcode you need to inform the authorities about:

  • merging flats into one bigger property
  • converting it into an HMO (house of multiple occupations)
  • adding another storey or supplementary building to the house

Information You Have to Provide for Council Tax and Moving House

Since the duty is based on the type of property and your living situation, you have to provide the following info:

  • Your name and telephone number for contact.
  • The postcode you are moving to/from.
  • An existing account number, if you have one.
  • The date of your move.
  • If you are a tenant, the end date of your tenancy.
  • Whether the housing is unfurnished or furnished.
  • The date of moving furniture in or out.
  • Names and addresses of any solicitors acting on your behalf.
  • The name of the property owner or the name and address of the landlord/agent you were renting from.

Council Tax Overlap When Moving House

When you move from one administrative area to another and forget to inform the authorities, you may receive two bills.

If you have moved and the taxes overlap, you must contact the council from which you’ve moved out.

Explain your situation, and inform them that you weren't living on the property. They should be able to fix the problem.

However, if you own the house you are moving out of and leave it empty, you will have to pay up to 50% of the council tax for the empty property.

The people living on the property are responsible for the impost. If there is a tenancy agreement, in most cases, the tenant is the person responsible as they are the ones living there. The responsibility is transferred to the property's landlord when the lease expires.

Are You Eligible to Receive a Tax Reduction?

The amount of council tax band you pay depends on the type and value of your house and your living situation. Children and marital status are being taken into account, as your income, house ownership, pensions, and other adults living with you.

Visit your local council’s site for additional info about council tax support.

Who Do I Need to Inform When I Move House?

London's famous red bus

You probably have a long checklist of administration offices that you have to inform about a change of address. But let's mention them again. When you are changing your home, aside from your local council, you also have to:

  • Redirect your post. You should do this as soon as you know that you will be moving and know your new address. Redirecting your post can take some time, and you might miss important letters sent to your old address.
  • Utility providers: water authority, electricity provider, gas provider, rubbish collection.
  • Other home services: TV, broadband, phone, etc. Cancel subscriptions, and change plans and contracts. Be sure to give them at least 31 days' notice.
  • Tell the right people at work. There will be changes in your personal information, and they should know it.

Pro Tip:
You can use our moving checklist to be more organised before, during and after the moving process.

Who Has to Pay Council Tax - Tenant or Landlord?

For many landlords and tenants, this is a confusing topic. However, if you do a little research, there are rules to follow. In some cases, the landlord is responsible for paying the council tax, but in others, it is the tenant's responsibility.

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Paying council tax is the landlord's responsibility when:

  • if the property is an HMO;
  • if the residents are under 18 years;
  • if the occupants are asylum seekers;
  • if the residents were transferred by the landlord to temporary housing while their permanent housing is being renovated or treated for pests.

Paying council tax is the tenant's responsibility when one of the following is valid:

  • a single-tenant living in a one-bedroom flat;
  • tenants - family or friends - who rent the whole property on a joint contract;

Please note that these are the most common cases for rental arrangements and contracts in the UK. The liability may differ depending on the town or the area you rent or rent out. Make sure to double-check with your local council.

FAQ Section:

Q: What happens to council tax when you move?

A: If you have started your transition on time, the council tax for your old address will be cancelled on time, i.e., the moment you leave the property, you will no longer be responsible for the tax. The next tenant/homeowner will be responsible for it.

Q: How much notice to give council tax when moving house?

A: Go to your local council at least a month before you change your address and postcode. Otherwise, you might be obliged to pay further tax for a period that you will not be inhabiting the property.

Q: How much council tax will I pay?

A: You should pay the council tax for the last month that you've lived in the property before moving. However, if you don't tell the council that you are moving, you might have to pay the tax until you prove you no longer live in the property.

Q: When do I start to pay my council tax on the new property?

A: You should inform the council that you are moving to a certain location and state your move-in date. From the day you move in, the council tax is your responsibility.


More useful links:
How long it takes to complete a house purchase?
How to combat moving anxiety?
Packing tips for moving house you must read!
Moving to France
Moving from London to Birmingham

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